by Haruki Murakami
2011 / 954 pages 


The book opens with a young woman, Aomame, in a taxi which is trapped in the snarl of Tokyo traffic.  She suddenly knows the classical music which is playing and then the driver advises her that she could take an unusual way out of the jam and make it to her appointment.   Meanwhile,  Tengo, a young male unpublished author,  is offered the opportunity to totally rewrite  the possibly award-winning  novel of a strange 17 year old girl.  The story is mesmerizing,  the style is lacking.  Murakami alternates the stories of Aomame and Tengo through as many ups and downs, connections and jams as there are on any Tokyo freeway at rush hour – but the moon sees it,  the moons see it,  the moon …

"... don’t let appearances fool you. There’s 
always only one reality."   p. 108
Major characters   (loosely in order of appearance)
Aomame Tasaki  f.  karate woman –
Tengo Kawana – m.   writer / teacher
Mr.  Komatsu  – literary agent
Tamaru  m.   dowager’s bodyguard
the Dowager f.  also called Madame
Fuka-Eri / sometimes called Eri – Eriko Fukada –  f.  author of Air Chrysalis
Professor Ebisuno m.
Ayumi  –  f.  Aomame’s bar-hopping friend)
Mr. Ushikawa – detective/spy etc.
The Leader – cult leader –
Buzzcut – guard of the Leader –  a tough
Ponytail – guard of the Leader – a tough
Kumi Adachi – f.  Tengo’s friend at father’s hospital
secondary characters
Tengo’s father  m. –  Mr. Kawana
Kyoko Yasuda – Tengo’s married girlfriend
Azami  –  f.  the Professor’s  daughter
bit players or characters referenced:
Ito Miyama,  m. attacker/victim

Tamaki –   f.  Aomame’s old friend
Tsubasa, f.  girl found in train station
Kyoko Yasuda’s husband
 Tengo’s mother
Other stuff:
Religious Cults / Communes

(excellent clip)
Air  Chrysalis – a book
Akutagawa prize
Little People  (the alt-world’s equivalent of Orwell’s Big Brother?)
Gilyaks – natives of  Sakhalin Island / Chekov’s writing
Town of Cats – the story Tengo wrote
Great Review at the NY Review of Books  (some spoilers)

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